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What Is Your Noisy Plumbing Trying to Tell You?

Learn the possible causes of three types of plumbing noises.

PlumbingIf you have noisy plumbing, it’s basically trying to tell you one thing: Help! While some plumbing noises are nothing to worry about, others could indicate an issue that could cause serious damage or inconvenience in the future. To figure out the difference, get an expert plumber from Econo West Heating Air & Plumbing to help you.

Banging Pipes

Banging pipes are not only annoying, they also have the potential to cause leaks down the line if not properly addressed. Possible causes of banging pipes include:

  1. Thermal expansion: When hot water enters a cold pipe, the pipe expands, which often causes a ticking noise. To confirm that this is the source of the noise, flush a toilet to get cold water in the drains and then run hot water down the sink. If you don’t hear the banging, you have a different problem.
  2. Air in the pipes: If you hear banging noises from your pipes when you open a faucet, the problem could be air trapped in the pipes. To check, turn off the main water supply and then open all faucets and valves to drain the pipes. When you turn the water back on, the noise should be gone.
  3. Excessive water pressure: The most worrisome cause of banging pipes is excessive water pressure. If the pipes tend to bang and shudder right after the water is turned off, you have what is called a water hammer effect. The resulting vibrations may cause your pipe connections to weaken and eventually leak. You should get a professional plumber to inspect your pipes and possibly install a pressure reducing valve in the lines.

Grumbling Hot Water Heater

If you have a traditional hot water heater with a storage tank, you may hear strange gurgling, grumbling, or ticking sounds coming from it. These sounds could mean that:

  1. You have water hammer: Hot water heater tanks can also be affected by the water hammer effect. You should have a plumber check the pressure of your water supply and install a pressure reducing valve if needed.
  2. The tank needs to be flushed: If you have hard water, mineral buildup at the bottom of the tank can trap tiny pockets of water, which will then explode out of the mineral layer when sufficiently heated. To prevent this type of noise, it is recommended to flush the tank regularly.

Whistling Shower

If anything, you want to be singing in the shower, not listening to your shower whistling at you. There are several possible reasons why your shower might be making a high-pitched whining or whistling sound:

  1. It’s clogged: If you have hard water, over time mineral deposits will build up inside the showerhead or shower arm, increasing the pressure and resulting in whistling sounds. This can be fixed by removing the showerhead and cleaning it with vinegar or CLR.
  2. There’s a problem with the shower valve: Another possibility is that the shower valve needs to be replaced. This valve controls the pressure and temperature of the water coming out of the shower and sometimes an old stem or cartridge can cause the valve to flutter or stick and make a whistling sound.
    Remember, the expert plumbers at Econo West Heating Air & Plumbing are standing by to help you silence all your noisy plumbing fixtures.

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